Path: ICPP > ICPP1980 > Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 671

Soviet Union Communist Party, 671
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
5-- Issue Orientation Variables

Ownership of Means of Production


Supranational Integration


Government Role in Economic Planning


National Integration


Redistribution of Wealth


Electoral Participation


Social Welfare


Protection of Civil Rights


Secularization of Society


Interference with Civil Liberties


Support of the Military


State Department Left-Right Rating


Alignment with East/West Blocs


Soviet Expert Left-Right Rating



5.01 ownership of means of production
5, AC9
While government ownership of all means of industrial and agricultural production exists generally, vestiges of private ownership remain in the soviet agricultural system as exemplified by the private plots owned individually by the collective farm worker. Indeed, the collective farmers--who number 50,000,000--are not government salaried as their counterparts on the state farms, but in principle jointly own the collective farm and share in its proceeds. In the early 1960’s, there also remained approximately 200,000 private farmers. Although government ownership and control also extend into all areas of business as well as non-business activities--such as education, science, arts--and the provision of public and professional services, privately salaried artisans number about 500,000 and a few doctors, dentists, and lawyers conduct private practice on the side.
5.02 government role in economic planning
5, AC9
In the post-Stalin era, the main issues in economic policy planning were those of centralization vs. Decentralization of the means of production and the allocation of resources to increase consumer production vs. An emphasis on industrial and military output. Although the trends were toward greater decentralization and a continued emphasis on industrial production, all changes occurred within a framework of planned goals and party supervision and control.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
4, AC9
While one of the major tenets of the CPSU has been the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, this has proven impracticable and the state of pure communism is yet to be achieved as stated in the 1961 program of the CPSU, which indicates that the construction of a truly Communist society has become an immediate task of the party. With the nationalization of industry and collectivization of agriculture in the 1920`s and 30’s, vast areas of wealth were shifted from private to government ownership or, in soviet ideological terms, to the workers who owned the means of production and thus worked for themselves. Technically, however, the state controlled production, and along with this control, it also regulated the apportionment of income. Although some attempts to equalize income were made in the early 20’s, they were abandoned as unrealistic. To achieve the goals of increasing production, it became more expedient to establish a system of rewards and incentives through higher salaries and fringe benefits awarded to a managerial elite. Other sectors of the population such as party functionaries, intelligentsia, and white collar workers also tended to be favored above the manual worker. But attempts at bettering the workers’ standard of living were eventually made by such changes as the 1956 wage policy raising the salaries of lower paid workers with a relative decrease in the salaries of intellectuals. While inequalities in wealth do exist, they do not seem to be as vast in the accumulation of property or as concentrated within the population as by western standards.
5.04 social welfare
5, AC9
One of the aspects of the 1961 party program deals with the proposed creation of a genuine welfare state with an accent on the provision of goods and services. Among these are the provision of rent-free apartments--paid vacations, old-age pensions, and sickness and disability benefits extended to collective farmers, who depended mainly on the resources of their collective farms for wages and benefits, free medicines, etc. But even before the 1961 program, the party advocated and the soviet citizen enjoyed paid vacations, insurance against illness and old age, and free dental and medical service. The social insurance system has been administered by the trade unions and socialized medicine by the ministry of health.
5.05 secularization of society
5, AC9
Formally, according to one source, freedom of worship exists in the Soviet Union in that any congregation willing to pay clerical salary and building maintenance may conduct services, but official policy discourages the practice of religion and promotes anti-religious atheistic propaganda through the press and other communications. In 1954 a decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU stated that religious sects and the orthodox church have been increasing activity among the peasants, especially women and youth, and chided the party organizations for not conducting a more atheistic propaganda. And in 1957, the religious instruction of youth outside the home was forbidden.
5.06 support of the military
5, AC9
During our time period military resources have continued as a high priority item. In the political struggle between Malenkov and Khrushchev, after Stalin’s death, Malenkov was more concerned with the consumer goods program and Khrushchev emphasized heavy industry, armaments production, and a large defense budget. It was Khrushchev’s belief that the hostility of imperialist groups prevented cutbacks in military expenditures. This belief extends into the 1961 party program which justifies the maintenance of security forces as long as imperialism and the threat of war to the Soviet Union exist.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
5, AC9
Since World War Two, the Soviet Union and the CPSU have been the major force in the eastern bloc seeking--as a bloc--, according to one source, to supplant the Atlantic community "as the paramount grouping of states, militarily, politically, economically, and ideologically."
5.08 anti-colonialism
1, AC7
According to official theory of the mid 1950’s, the Soviet Union forms the nucleus of a commonwealth of socialist nations which includes China, Mongolia, North Korea, North Vietnam, Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Albania. The nature of the Soviet Union’s relationship has been different between the East European and Asian groups. While the Soviet Union has espoused political, economic and ideological ties or cooperation with the Asian members, it has exercised a larger degree of control over the East European countries, as exemplified by the use of soviet military interference to put down the Hungarian and Polish uprisings of 1956. Since the 20th CPSU congress in 1956, various steps towards the coordination of national economic plans among the East European countries have taken place through meetings and conferences on economic cooperation and agricultural development. Ideologically, the countries of the eastern bloc have been called upon to adhere to the principles of Marxism-Leninism as fostered by the Soviet Union. In matters of foreign policy and defense, these members of the conference of the Warsaw Pact are to meet, discuss, and agree upon decisions. Although the Soviet Union does recognize the need for national assertion and thus allows for a measure of self-government, it is principally because of its political, economic, and ideological control and coordination as reinforced by the threat of the use of military power to achieve stated goals that the CPSU is coded as involved in a colonial relationship. Interestingly, the Soviet Union’s own position with respect to East Europe is contrary to the official political tirades against colonialism as applied to the western powers. The accusations generally apply to the underdeveloped countries, where the Soviet Union has itself practiced a policy of extending political and economic influence.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC9
Various steps towards the coordination of national economic plans among the east European nations have were taken after the 20th CPSU congress in 1956. Among these were the 1958 meeting of "commonwealth" members of the council on mutual economic aid for the purpose of developing economic cooperation and the 1960 conference relating to the development of agriculture. At the 22nd congress in 1961, the themes of economic, political, technical and cultural cooperation among the socialist countries were again stressed as being in the interest of each country and the commonwealth as a whole. At best, however, the institutional structures for joint decision making at the supranational level which allowed for meaningful participation by the other eastern European countries appeared to be limited to trade and other economic matters.
5.10 national integration
2, AC9
Under the soviet constitution each nationality is entitled to its own cultural identity, and the central objective of soviet nationality policy would appear to be to raise the cultural, political, social and economic level of the various minority people to ensure "genuine equality" as soviet citizens. Yet in the soviet effort to unify the country into a politically and socially cohesive community, the government has followed, to varying degrees, policies of denationalization, assimilation, or to use the soviet term--"internationalization." While the national minorities were allowed greater cultural leeway between 1953 and 1958, the liberal nationalities policy was reversed by Khrushchev in 1958 resulting in greater subordination of the minorities to the major ethnic group. To implement this policy, immigration primarily of Russian workers and personnel to the less advanced non-Russian republics took place, and the teaching of Russian was further stepped up among the minority ethnic groups. Differences in the application of the policy among the nationalities were evident as it appears that very little, if any, assimilation occurred in the republics of Georgia and Armenia. Thus, as exemplified by Khrushchev’s speech in 1961, official policy seems to weave a line between concessions to nationalist sentiment and continuation of a policy of assimilation.
5.11 electoral participation
3, AC9
The 1936 constitution of the USSR states that suffrage is universal and equal. All soviet citizens, 18 and over, can vote regardless of race, sex, ethnic, or social origin, past or present activity or extent of their property. The only exception to these broad qualifications appears in the 1958 ruling denying the vote to the insane. Another source adds "criminals" to the category of people denied the vote. Despite this broad grant of suffrage, popular participation was severely limited because elections were not competitive. No parties were allowed to organize to challenge candidates of the CPSU.
5.12 protection of civil rights
2, AC7
Legally the constitution of the USSR guarantees equality of rights in political, economic, cultural spheres to all citizens regardless of nationality or race. In practice, however, infringements upon these guarantees have occurred to varying degrees against national and ethnic groups in the pursuit of such official policies as assimilation and internationalization. During the early period of this study, discrimination against Jews and nationalists in republics was particularly strong under Stalin. Although the literature does not reflect the existence of strident anti-Semitic policies after Stalin’s death, one source indicates that Jews--who are not granted political autonomy as a group and enjoy few, if any, communal rights--may be subjected to extraordinary discrimination.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
5, AC9
All radio, television, and newspapers are state controlled and are used primarily as tools of agitation and propaganda.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet experts left-right ratings
U.S. says 4, Communist.
Soviets say nothing.